As Google moves towards the end of its Stadia cloud gaming service, Microsoft is touting more success with Xbox Cloud Gaming, now having said that over 20 million people have used the service, but there’s bad news about “Keystone,” the dedicated streaming device that could have further expanded that number.

Xbox Cloud Gaming surpasses 20 million lifetime players

In an update to its user base figures, Microsoft has confirmed that over 20 million players have tried Xbox Cloud Gaming to date. That’s double the number of players who had tried Microsoft’s take on cloud gaming when a figure was provided earlier this year. The updated number came during the company’s latest earnings call as reported by The Verge.

Given the short period of time between these updates, it’s pretty easy to see some clear reasons why this number has grown so dramatically.

For one, Microsoft partnered with Epic Games to offer free streaming access to Fortnite through Xbox Cloud Gaming earlier this year, which has been a huge success. On top of that, Xbox Cloud Gaming also officially arrived on Samsung Smart TVs, alongside other services such as GeForce Now, Amazon Luna, and Google’s soon-to-be-closed Stadia.

‘Keystone’ is no more says Xbox’s Phil Spencer

But it seems that Microsoft has decided to pivot away from a wider rollout of cloud gaming with dedicated hardware.

During a live interview with The Wall Street Journal this afternoon (via Tom Warren), Xbox lead Phil Spencer confirmed that the company is no longer pursuing a dedicated device that would have brought Xbox Cloud Gaming to TVs. The device, known as “Keystone,” leaked in a tweet last month and was expected to be released in the next few months.

Keystone was something that we were incubating internally. Late spring we pivoted to working with Samsung. I still have the prototype… will we do a streaming device at some point? I expect we will, but it’s years away

Image annotation: The Verge

It’s certainly a shame to see “Keystone” shelved – quite literally in this context – as it would have made for a more affordable way to enter into Xbox Cloud Gaming on your TV. As it stands, the service can only be accessed on mobile phones, through the web, and through either an Xbox console or a Samsung Smart TV on the big screen. There have been hints of a possible Android TV OS app, but nothing has come to fruition.

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Ben Schoon

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